Santa brought me a zoom lens for Christmas, and I finally had some time this past weekend to take it outside and play with it. I thought that I'd be able to point it at the birds we normally see around our property and click, click, click, I'd capture a series of pictures of winter birds.
It turned out to be not so easy. The bird I saw with my naked eye vanished in the much narrower field of the viewfinder. The auto focus got confused by tree branches. The birds moved around too fast. I missed the male cardinal, three house finches, a downy and a hairy woodpecker, a nuthatch, and even an entire flock of turkeys that walked right by our front door. This is going to take a bit more practice.
I managed to capture a few chickadees. The black-capped chickadee (Poecile atricapilla) is one of our most numerous--and noisy--winter birds. The chickadee is named for its distinctive chick-a-dee-dee-dee call, and when you hear that in the woods, stop and make a psh-psh-psh sound and the chickadees might move in closer to see what you're up to. They gather in flocks, often joining up with nuthatches, woodpeckers, brown creepers and titmice. Look around when you hear chickadees nearby and you'll likely see at least one of these other species.
The black-capped chickadee makes its home in the northern states and Canada from coast to coast, dipping farther south in the Rockies and Appalachians. They are regulars at our bird feeder, and tend to snatch-and-run, grabbing a seed and darting into the woods to crack into it, while another comes in for a seed. They're cute, charming birds and I don't ever get tired of watching them. They're also harbingers of spring --their breeding song, which some hear as fee-bee, though I hear see-saw (and it has the squeaky quality of an old piece of playground equipment) is always a sure sign that winter is on its way out (though I heard it this past weekend, so they might be getting ahead of themselves this year).
Meanwhile, there were a few birds that stood still and let me take their pictures.
What's wild in your neck of the woods?